Revolutionizing Retail: Exploring the Impact of Digital Shelves

In the retail industry, the conversion rate is high if discoverability is high. Read on to understand digital shelves and how to leverage the insights.

Godi Yeshaswi
November 15, 2023
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In the not-so-distant past, winning retail meant getting hold of prime real estate on physical shelves – a competitive market where big brands showed off their financial strength for visibility. Fast forward to today, and the game has shifted to the digital domain, where the virtual shelf is crowded with products from around the globe.

The digital counterpart of physical shelves is a hectic marketplace where even major brands occupy 5% of the category's vast online space. A brand can no longer rest on its size and expect to dominate; the digital shelf operates on dynamic algorithms that constantly rearrange products based on factors like price, availability, ratings, and more.

The retail world is now at a place where brands not only navigate the vast digital shelf but also understand every hint of consumer behavior. This involves being up to date with accurate, real-time data revealing where shoppers are, what they seek, and how they explore options within a category.

Brands dive into a pool of customer data from their websites to create personalized shopping experiences. This data is extremely valuable to make products stand out and easy to find. But it's not just about having the data; it's about using it logically. 

Read on as we break down the fundamentals of digital shelf and its insights.

What is a Digital Shelf?

Think of the digital shelf as your online shopping playground—it's where you do everything you'd normally do in a physical store but in the digital world. This space includes everything from typing into search engines to checking out product pages and exploring websites.

So, when we talk about the digital shelf, we're referring to the entire online shopping journey—from the moment you start looking for something to when you hit that "buy" button and even what happens after. For online brands and shops, it's super important to keep an eye on what's happening on this digital shelf. 


In-Store vs Digital Shelf

Brick and Mortar (In-Store)

  • Consumers can touch and feel the product that they are looking to purchase.
  • Consumers have to ask someone for the location of the product.
  • Money transactions happen in cash, cards, or PayPal.
  • Cost includes store rent, storage, marketing, employees and more

Digital Shelf

  • Consumers can only look at the products online.
  • Consumers have to browse specific keywords to find the product’s location online.
  • Money transactions happen in cash, cards, PayPal, or Gift Cards.
  • Cost includes marketplace fees, shipping costs, storage fees, advertising, and more.

Challenges of Digital Shelf

  • It's tough to keep digital store shelves up to date because they're always changing. Staying on trend to win in the market can be a real challenge.
  • With digital shelves, shoppers can't touch or feel products in real time. This makes it hard for them to get all the details they need, like benefits, features, and ingredients, to make the best decisions when buying.
  • Digital shelves aren't the same for every store. There are different levels of customization, and smaller stores with fewer resources might not have as much flexibility.
  • Things keep changing, from what people like to how they shop. Staying current with the latest info is tricky because consumer preferences, behavior, and even the way products show up in searches are always evolving.


Digital Shelf Analytics and Insights

Digital Shelf Analytics and Insights is like analyzing your existing digital shelves thorugh insights to optimize them better. It's about looking at different things, such as where your product shelves show up on search engines and how people find and use your products online. The idea is to tweak these things so more people can find what you're offering, strengthening your online presence and helping more folks make a purchase. 

Using digital shelf analytics is like having a superpower for your online presence. It helps make products easily seen and found by understanding how well they're doing on the digital shelf. For businesses, this means fixing any issues in product placement and making the whole online experience better for customers.

Digital shelf analytics gives retailers a peek into what's hot in the market. Businesses can then use this info to make their product pages match the latest trends, making sure they stand out and get noticed by more people.

Importance of Digital Shelf Analytics and Insights

You can't touch or see products in person when you shop online. You rely on what the online store’s description tells you. Unlike real stores, brands can't grab special spots or eye-level displays on the digital shelf. In regular stores, brands cleverly put products next to things that go well together, like putting milk next to cereal. But online, brands don't have that kind of control. They can't set up their products in a way that makes sense. To figure out how people find and like their stuff online, brands must keep checking how their products are shown on the digital shelf regularly.

To have an edge on the online shelves and create a winning strategy for selling everywhere, you need something called digital shelf analytics and insights. It's like your secret weapon for making sure your products shine online and bring in the bucks.

Here's why it's important:

  • Product Performance: It tells you right away if your product shows up well, is accurate, has all the details, and stands out compared to others.
  • Buyer Behavior: This helps you figure out why some products are doing awesome, why others might not be, and what you can do to make things better.
  • Channel Competition: This shows you how you're doing compared to others in your category.

What Can You Do with Digital Shelf Insights?

Improve the Quality of Product Images 

Good product pictures are super important when you're shopping online. About 75% of people buy something based on its appearance in the pictures.

Here's the deal: getting a product that doesn't look like what you saw online can be a letdown. More than half of people, around 53% of consumers, return products purchased online as often as they return those purchased in-store. 

So, make sure the pictures of what you're selling are really good—clear, right colors, simple background, and show how the thing works in real life. That way, more people will want to buy it, and it'll stand out on the online shelves.

Enhance Brand Content

Even if your product shows up in search results, it needs to stand out from the competition on retail websites.

To do this, you can use three main ways to share information in your product listing:

  • Talk about your brand.
  • Showcase your product.
  • Focus on the product category.

Monitor and Improve Display Ads

As online shopping is getting bigger, more brands are advertising on marketplaces. For those aiming to reach customers on and off marketplaces, like other websites and apps, it's important to invest in sponsored display ads.

To make the most of advertising and budget spending, brands can use insights from the digital shelf. These insights help them refine their strategies on different platforms and keep an eye on what their competitors are doing. It's like a tool that helps brands improve and see how well they're doing compared to others.

Analyze Customer Perception of Your Brand

Reviews from customers are like a treasure for your brand. They give you a peek into what people think about your product. By checking out ratings and reviews, you can figure out ways to make your product and messaging more appealing to the folks you're trying to reach. It's also important to pay attention to negative reviews to avoid any damage to your brand.

Here's a smart move: use review and rating dashboards to see an overall picture of what customers are saying about products in different categories, brands, and even your competitors. This info helps you dive into specific reviews to make your product and marketing better.

How to Optimize Your Digital Shelf Design?

In today's changing retail and online shopping world, companies need to focus on making people know their brand, understanding what makes customers buy, and using emotions to stay relevant and get noticed on digital shelves.

Find the Best Package: Compare different package designs to see which one people like the most and which works best for your target customers.

Make the Shelf Right: Figure out the best shelf and layout to make your product easy to see and more likely to be picked up by shoppers.

Decide Where to Put It: Choose the right spot for your product—whether it's at eye level or somewhere else—to sell more and catch people's attention.


Bottom Line

In summary, online shopping has changed how brands compete, and the battleground is now the digital shelves. To succeed, businesses need to tackle challenges like keeping up with trends and understanding shopper behavior. Digital shelf analytics, like a superpower, helps them do that.

The online store shelf is always changing, and staying on trend is tough. But with digital shelf analytics, businesses can see how their products are doing online, fix any issues, and make the whole shopping experience better for customers.

From checking product images to understanding what customers say in reviews, digital shelf insights are like a secret weapon. They help businesses shine online, stand out, and sell more. In this digital age, where people can't touch products, using these insights is the key to success in the competitive world of online shopping.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the elements of the digital shelf?

The elements/components of a digital shelf - the actual product, its package, the price, any discounts, whether it's in stock, where it is in the store, the product category, and more. It's all designed to make your shopping experience as easy as possible.

What is Digital Shelf in Retail?

The digital shelf in retail is like the online version of how we shop in regular stores. It includes all the digital stuff we use to find, learn about, compare, and buy things—like product pages, websites, and other online stuff. It's basically everything we do online when we're shopping for something.

What are the benefits of Digital Shelf Insights?

Improve the Quality of Product Images, Enhance Brand Content, Monitor and Improve Display Ads, and Analyze Customer Perception of Your Brand.


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Author Bio

Godi Yeshaswi
Yeshaswi is a dedicated and enthusiastic individual with a strong affinity for tech and all things content. When he's not at work, he channels his passion into his love for football, especially for F.C. Barcelona and the GOAT, Lionel Messi. Instead of hitting the town for parties, he prefers to spend quality time cuddling with his Golden Retriever, Oreo.

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